Many Employers Not Looking Forward to Health Reform

September 24, 2009 ( - Some 73% of employers polled in a recent survey said health-care reform will mean higher costs for them, Watson Wyatt said.

A news release said 86% of the 160 employers involved in the September 2009 surveythink the health-care proposals being considered would weaken the role employer-sponsored plans play in providing health-care coverage.

“Both Congress and the White House have said repeatedly that health-care reform should build on the employer-sponsored system,” said Ted Nussbaum, North America director of group and health-care consulting at Watson Wyatt, in the news release. “However, most employers are apprehensive that the outcome will be quite different.”

The poll also found little employer support for proposals that would tax benefits or mandate employer coverage: Fewer than three in 10 would support a tax on high-income employees with high-cost plans, while fewer than one in five would support a tax on insurers of high-cost plans. An even smaller percentage, 11 percent, would support taxing employer contributions to health-care as income.

On expanding access, the poll found that only 10% of respondents would support an employer mandate, while half (50%) would support an individual mandate. Ten percent would support both, and 30% would not support either.